Walk Off The Earth are super famous for their incredible covers that go all kinds of viral. We’re so excited that they’re headed down to Australia for a huge tour next month. Don’t Bore Us had the chance to have a chat to Marshall from the band.
We are so excited for your up and coming Australian shows! What can your fans expect from the tour?
They can expect the most visual, amazing sounding show that they’ve ever seen in their life… Our show’s awesome, man. We basically try and take the things we do on YouTube to the stage. We involve the crowd to make sure they have the best time of their life, and we have the best time of our life on stage. We just have a great time.
Can we expect an integration of your covers AND your originals in the show?
We do everything people see on YouTube, we do everything people see from us, hear from us on the radio. You know, it’s a good mix of covers and original music… just everything… we don’t hold back. With trying to make it just one thing.
Yeah so with your YouTube covers, do you have a least favourite and a most favourite that you’ve done?
You know what, it always seems like the most favourite is the last one you did. It’s just kinda how it is with music and me. The last song I wrote is my favourite song. The last cover we did is my favourite video. I don’t really have a least favourite – probably just the oldest one. Because we’ve done it so many times. But yeah, everything is really fun when it’s new and eventually get old. But the one thing about that is though, sometimes a song can be like “ohh its old, I don’t want to do this anymore”, but then you play it on stage to a bunch of fans that never heard it and seen it before and you’re right back in it, you’re like “oh this is dope! I like playing this song again” cause it’s new & fresh for all those people. So there’s a lot of give and take when it comes to how a crowd will react to a song.
Awesome! But on that, do you prefer doing covers or originals?
Honestly, I can speak for me and the band, we don’t prefer. We just love singing and performing great songs. And if it turns out that we wrote one, then that’s cool. If somebody else wrote it and we did our version of it, then that’s cool too, we just love playing songs.
That’s so cool, you guys sound like you just love music.
Yeah we do, we like to bring that to the stage. I’ve seen enough shows in my life to know when a band is up there and they are working. You can tell that they are working or that they are just doing their job and when their job is done they get off the stage – that’s just not us. We don’t do that. We hit the stage because we love it and we play in front of people because we love doing it. And if we get to a point where we don’t show that in our show and it doesn’t come off that way, that would probably be the point where we would just hang it up, because we all love what we do and we love getting on stage and being a part of great things with all the fans.
That’s so inspiring. Where do you find inspiration for your original stuff?
It changes all the time. Whenever you write a song, it can really depend on what type of mood you’re in that day. That doesn’t mean that anything inspired you that day, it just happened to be the mood you’re in that day. And then it turns out ‘oh that’s a great song’. The last album that we did, ‘Singin All The Way’, was really put a conscious mindset into how the songs would be heard at live shows and how they would involve a crowd. So we really tried to focus on “Ok so when we get to the bridge or the chorus of this song, what can we do to involve the crowd?” and then it gives them something to sing along to and chant to … and it became a thing. And that album really became an endemic album that really had a lot of involvement in gang vocals or crowd chanting – almost like a soccer game feel. So the ‘Singin’ all the way’ album was the first time that we actually did that so to say what inspired us – we really thought about our fans and we thought about the crowd like how we would do something live and how it would come off, and we had never done that before so it was really fun to do.
It sounds like your live shows are gonna be a really eclectic musical experience, I can’t wait to see them!
Yeah I think we are gonna have a great time. I’ve never – and I don’t mean to say this in an egotistical way – but I’ve never met anyone who came to our shows and said “you know, it just wasn’t fun, it wasn’t good enough” you know? People walk away from our shows saying “wow, that was the greatest show I’ve ever seen”. Obviously there’s a lot better shows than ours out there, there’s some pretty amazing shows I’ve seen myself let alone other peoples shows, but, you know, we put a lot of time into our show and we put a lot of thought into it and we put a lot of investment into the production value. We don’t typically go off stage and go “oh, how can we save money and play the show cheaply so we can make a bunch of money?” We say, ‘lets go on the stage and blow everybody’s minds out and make sure everybody has a good time”. That’s what we like to do.
Talking about your rising success, you guys started on YouTube, so how much of your success do you attribute to social media? And do you think it’s harder or easier for bands like yours to get off the ground in the modern social media age?
Um, I think every band, especially ones that people look at and go “wow, they came out of no where and blew up over night”, all of those bands and all of those artists have been doing it for a long time. It may not have been the same band or the same way that they broke out, but for us, walk off the earth has been around for almost 4 years before the Gotye video came out. We were doing the grind, touring around Canada and the US, doing Warped Tour’s and festivals and stuff like that. We were just a little 3-piece band, we had two independent albums, and then we decided “okay, I don’t know if I wanna tour around in a big white van and drive 6 hours just to get to the next venue. Let’s see how else we can get our sound out there”. It was around the same time that YouTube was getting started, 2006 – it wasn’t really anything yet. But for us, we did a little video and we got like 10,000 views! We were like “holy crap! That’s more people than we have ever played for in our life” So we just kinda stuck with it. Thankfully for us, YouTube was growing at the same time so our videos were getting a lot better, the reach was getting out there – we hit the perfect storm. Gotye’s song was a massive smash hit and we just got kinda lucky with having a great video to go along with the way that we covered his song. The rocket just always steams. For us, and for any band, you just have to keep doing what it is that you feel is best for your band. If it’s right, eventually you get that perfect storm and you get that perfect moment. Some people would take a year to do it, some would take 20 years. There’s no advice you could give to bands coming up or any body like that because everybody has to find their own way. You just got to put in the hard work.
But once you achieve that – because you guys got viral pretty quickly – how do you maintain that level of success? Is it through the live shows?
Yeah, you know that was a big thing. It kinda touches back on what I was talking about before, having the experience. We had been around for 5 years, we had 25 videos on our channel before that video broke – and they were good videos too. So when people would watch the Gotye video they wouldn’t go “oh check out this viral video of a talking dog” and have nothing to follow up it, we had 20 other videos behind that that made other people go “holy shit look at all these other videos too” and so people would keep watching us and then they’d come to our live show and our live show was awesome so they’d stick around.
Yeah, awesome! In your covers, you hit a level of creativity that is really inspiring because you use heaps of different and unusual instruments which I think is awesome. But my question is, if you could only make music with just one instrument for the rest of your life, which instrument would you choose?
Wow. I don’t know. For me, I write songs easiest to guitar. So if I didn’t have a guitar I’d be screwed. But its not because I like the guitar more than anything else, I’d like to say a xylophone or something like that but I would run out of options quick.
Which cover song that you have covered do you wish you had written?
All of them. They are all such great songs and sometimes people don’t realise that because of the way the song is produced. You know, people don’t like Taylor Swift – but Taylor Swift’s songs are phenomenal. The core of that song is just a smash and you can play it acoustic, country, 100 different ways and it’s still a smash. And sometimes when a song like that comes along it’s just a pleasure to play, it doesn’t matter which way you play it or how it’s done.
If you want to catch Walk Off The Earth when they pop down to Australia next month, we hear there’s still a handful of tickets available! Tickets are available HERE.